Three Fundamentals of Tango

by Peter Forret Whenever I hear the postulate that everything in tango is either a step forward, a step backwards or a side step, I get a little irritated. I know what they mean, and it’s not that it is entirely wrong, it’s rather that it is incomplete, and it tends to send people off in a very step oriented direction. But I have written about that before. [Read More]

How less becomes more

by hooverine There was something she said that stayed with me. So well put. ‘When he leads a step, say backwards for the woman’, Graciela said, ‘then there is one possibility: going backwards. There are not three possible steps. Not three, not two. One.’ All the time I see so called ‘advanced’ dancers, throwing their partners around, the women looking like nervous chicken trying to guess the right thing to do for each and every step. [Read More]

Almost perfect

by Stuck in Customs It was my first tanda in the milongas with her. In the break between two dances at the legendary milonga at Club Sunderland, I was chatting with la preciosa, who later became one of my dearest tango friends. She asked me if I knew who was dancing (the exhibition) that night, and I confirmed, that yes, of course I knew. It was the very reason I went there that night, in fact. [Read More]

Pas de finesse...

by Jayanth Sharma Staying in Buenos Aires for a few months provided several eye-openers. One of the great revelations was concerning the logic of the dance, or rather the lack of it, and how this adds spice to the dance: We were taking lessons with various teachers, with very different philosophies with respect to tango, how to dance it and how to learn it. Gustavo Naveira, the great master, dissected each step carefully, explaining exactly how and why and which steps were crossed and which were open etc. [Read More]

Follow the leader?

Johanna’s comment and her subsequent post on leads and follows inspired me to write an entire post in addition to the comment in her blog. In her post (and follow-up) she argues why you would want to use the terms lead and follow for the two dancers in a tango embrace, and discuss howthey are surrounded with angst. I find it to be the terms man and woman that are surrounded by angst, and that is probably the reason people use lead and follow as euphemisms for man and woman. [Read More]

Masquerade

Who are you when you are dancing? Are you the leader? The follower? The man? The woman? I was once confronted with my using the terminology man/woman in class. The person complaining said that she was dancing a role (she was dancing the man’s part) and that was the role of the leader. I know this easily gets messy, but I never liked the euphemism leader/follower when what we are talking about is a man and a woman in most cases. [Read More]

Putting the baby to sleep

I quite recently became a father, and the poor child is exposed to a lot of tango music, naturally. (And I get out to dance less, hence the blog writing.) Before he was born, I used to talk about how we would practice walking together, he and I. Now this is how it turned out: The scene: Unpatiant 12 days old boy, waiting for his mother to get ready for breast-feeding. [Read More]

Confiteria La Ideal en BBC

Another good documentary about tango. I enjoyed it a lot. Some of the interesting scenes are available on youtube, but the documentary itself was quite hard to get hold of. As far as I could determine, it is not available for sale, not even on ebay, so you better know one of them pirates or use your imagination ;-) I am quite impressed by how ordinary dancers are able to express what tango means to them. [Read More]

Clichés

Ever since I started dancing, the topic of tango clichés has fascinated me. The rose in mouth, castanets, head flicks, dramatic poses are all parts of what usually pops into people’s heads when they hear the word tango. Where did they come from, and why did they stick? Going through a lot of Hollywood production at least gives a partial answer, and Rudolph Valentino is one of the people to blame, the rose in mouth appears in the film Blood and sand, where he plays a bullfighter, while the film he dances the tango is _Four horsemen of the apocalypse. [Read More]